Even though the rug was ripped out from under Lollapalooza this week, former Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is optimistic that the eclectic music festival he co-founded in 1991 will resurface — and it might be sooner than you think.
"There are a few paths we are considering," Farrell said Wednesday. "I am getting letters back from many musicians, letting me know that if there is a possibility of becoming active, they will come on board again. Our position is thrilling. We can only be saved by the creative ideas we come up with. We feel like a team gathered around their coach, who is coming up with a play for the final seconds of a game."
The decision to scrap this year's tour was made Monday night, when organizers and promoters realized they faced huge financial losses based on poor ticket sales (see "Lollapalooza Canceled; Organizers Cite Poor Ticket Sales"). But by pulling the plug three weeks before the tour was set to begin, Lollapalooza wasn't given much of a chance for ticket sales to improve, as they usually do in the days leading up to a show.
Traditionally, 60 percent of the tickets sold for a stop on the Vans Warped Tour, for example, occur six days prior to the show. Those responsible for Lollapalooza's cancellation, however, didn't have faith that the tour would follow that pattern, or even the one Lolla set last year.
"Last year, walk-ups very much improved our final counts, and this year, we felt walk-ups were even more important. One reason is that with the economy in such a poor state, people don't cast their money that far into the future. Rather, they spend their money much closer to showtime," Farrell said.
"Last year, we sold out many of our shows and played to 20-25,000 people at times. This year, we never got a chance to launch our marketing or the bulk of our press campaign. Our campaign was beautiful and strong. We had aligned with MoveOn.org. We were set to reach out to millions of young voters. We were cut off."
When the lineup for this year's trek was announced, it was met with criticism that not many music fans, especially those in the middle of the country, would appreciate Morrissey, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey and the String Cheese Incident, let alone smaller acts like Broken Social Scene, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and the Dresden Dolls. It was never Farrell's intention to appeal to the lowest common denominator, though.
"I must state that my ambition was never to rip the dollar from the hands of 'pop culture,' " he said. "I'm an enthusiast. I cheer what I consider to be excellent. Mine is to present the alternatives of life that I experience and enjoy. I give people credit for being smart and, at the very least, curious."
The headliners, most of whom were using Lollapalooza to promote recent albums, were left scrambling to set something up in the wake of the tour's demise.
Morrissey, who is currently in London for the two-day Meltdown Festival, may try to fill his summer with sporadic dates in the States, though a full-scale U.S. tour is expected this fall. The same goes for PJ Harvey, though she has a few European festivals to pepper her summer months with. Sonic Youth, who already had several dates scheduled in between their Lollapalooza gigs, will try to add more to their itinerary.
Modest Mouse, who were on tour in Europe when the Lollapalooza announcement was made, are already in the process of lining up a headlining trek, set to begin July 16 in Chico, California. The Flaming Lips plan to go back to Oklahoma to continue work on their long-awaited movie, "Christmas on Mars" (see "Flaming Lips Spew About New Album, Martian Christmas Movie").
As for Farrell, if Lollapalooza remains dormant this year, he plans to go to parties, write a few songs and start thinking about next year's tour.
"Please send the bands you would like to see to Lollapalooza.com," he said.